India is rich in biodiversity and has five types of forest found in India. Depending upon the variation in climate and the soil, the natural vegetation of India changes from one region to another.

Types of forest found in India:

  1. Tropical Evergreen and Semi-Evergreen forests
  2. Tropical deciduous forest
  3. Tropical thorn forests
  4. Montane forest
  5. Littoral and Swamp forestsLittoral and Swamp forests:  

1. Tropical Evergreen and Semi-Evergreen forests:

(A) Tropical evergreen forest: 

Tropical evergreen forest means the forest found in tropical areas and always green throughout the year because the leaves of plants shed at different times.
  1. Distribution: Western slope of Western Ghats, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Hills of the northeastern region.
  2. Precipitation: Heavy rainfall more than 250 cm throughout the year.
  3.  Vegetation:
  • Tropical evergreen forests are dense and multilayered forests (luxuriant forests).
  • Plants in the forest have broad leaves with narrow tips because rain’s water easily goes down.
  • The tropical evergreen forest consists of a large canopy which Tropical evergreen forest consists of epiphytes, climbers, orchids, ferns, and creeper plants.
  • Undergrowth is very dense and thick grass is almost absent.
  • Hardwood trees are found in these forests.
  • Indian rosewood, Ebony, Mahogany, Rubber, and Cinchona are the typical species found in these forests.
Types of forest found in India

                 Tropical evergreen forest


(B) Tropical semi-evergreen forest:

  1. Distribution: Mainly found less rainy areas of the Western Ghats, Meghalaya plateau, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  2. Precipitation: annual rainfall of about 200 cm.
  3. Vegetation:
  • The tropical semi-evergreen forest is a less dense forest than Tropical evergreen forests.
  • These have a mixture of Tropical evergreen and tropical moist deciduous trees.
  • The under-growing climbers are mainly given to evergreen character to these forests.
  • The timber of these forests is fine textured and of good quality.
  • Hillock, White Cedar, and Kail are the main trees found in these forests.

2. Tropical deciduous forest:

Types of forest found in India

        Tropical deciduous forest

  1. Tropical deciduous forest is mainly known as “Monsoon forest.”These forests are mostly found in India.
  2. These spreads on those areas which receive rainfall in the range of 70 cm to 200 cm.
  3. These forests shed their leaves in winter and new leaves regrow in the spring season of next year.
On the basis of the availability of water, Tropical deciduous forest is divided into two parts:
  1. Tropical Moist deciduous forest
  2. Tropical Dry deciduous forest

(A) Tropical Moist deciduous forest:

  1. Distribution: Eastern slopes of Western Ghats, Himalayan foothills, Orissa, and areas of Chhota Nagpur plateau.
  2. Precipitation: Annual rainfall range between 100 to 200 cm.
  3. Vegetation:
  • Tropical Moist deciduous forest is mainly famous for its commercial plants such as teak, sal, shisham, sandalwood, etc.
  • Other main plant species are mahua, hurra, and semul, etc.

(B) Tropical Dry deciduous forest:

  1. Distribution: Rainy areas of Peninsular regions, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  2. Precipitation: Annual rainfall range between 100 to 200 cm. 
  3. Vegetation:
  • This forest is a variant of the moist deciduous type.
  • The open grass stretches in large areas and very few plants are found in these forests which are widely spaced to form a “Parkland landscape.”
  • These are also called the “Savannah of India.” 
  • In the dry season, trees shed their leaves completely and the forest appears like a vast grassland with naked trees.
  • The tree species are found in a mixture of moist and dry deciduous forests.

3. Tropical thorn forests:

Types of forest found in India

                             Tropical thorn forests

  1. DistributionSemiarid areas of Southwest Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and rain shadow areas of Western Ghats. These include semi-desert and desert forests.
  2. Precipitation: Rainfall received in these forests is less than 50 cm.
  3. Vegetation:
  • Grasses and shrubs are the main characteristics of Tropical thorn forests.
  • In these forests, the plants are generally small in size or leafless throughout the year and give an expression of scrub vegetation.
  • The varieties of trees found in Tropical thorn forests are mainly Khair, babool, ber, wild date palm, neem, khejri and palas, and cactus, etc.
  • Tussocky grass grows in these forests commonly and reaches a height of up to 2 m.

4. Montane forest:

  • Montane forests are found in mountain areas and also known as Mountain forests.
  • In mountain areas, types of natural vegetation change from a lower altitude to a higher altitude because height increases then temperature decreases.
In India, Mountain forests are divided into two parts:

  1. Northern mountain forests
  2. Southern mountain forests

(A) Northern Mountain forests:

Types of forest found in India

                           Northern Mountain forests

  • Northern mountain forests are also known as the Himalayan mountain forests.
  • The natural vegetation in the Himalayas undergoes change depending upon the altitude and latitude from tropical to tundra.
Types of forest in Northern mountain forests on basis of altitude:

Moist tropical deciduous forests:

  1. Height: 1000-2000 m
  2. Distribution:  Eastern Himalayas and foothills of the Himalayas.
  3. Vegetation:  Oak, Chestnut, and Peach.

Moist Temperate Evergreen forests:

Types of forest found in India

                 Moist Temperate Evergreen forests

  1. Height: 1500-3000 m and receiving rain range between 100cm to 250 cm annually.
  2. Distribution: Entire Himalayan range between 1500-3000 m.  
  3. Vegetation:
  • Thick dense forest and lofty trees are the main characteristics of these types of forests.
  • The broad-leaved evergreen plants with Oak and Chestnut are predominately in the eastern Himalayas.  
  • Chir Pine and Deodar species mainly grow in the Western Himalayas.  
  • Chir Pine and Deodar are durable wood mainly used for construction activity.
  • Blue pine and spruce appear at altitudes of 2225-3048 m.

Dry temperate coniferous forest:

Types of forest found in India

         Dry temperate coniferous

  1. Height: 1500-3000 m and receiving rain range below 100cm annually.
  2. Distribution: Dry temperate coniferous are found in Jammu and Kashmir, Lahaul-Spiti valley, Chamba, and Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh.
  3. Vegetation: Deodar, Maple, Chinar, Willow, and Oak, etc.

Alpine forests:

  1. Height: 3000-4000 m.
  2. Distribution: Entire Himalayan range between 3000-4000 m.
  3. Vegetation:
  • Silver firs, Junipers, Birch, and Rhododendron.
  • The southern slope of the Himalayas: Dwarfs conifers and lush grasses. The grass pastures used extensively for transhumance by tribes like Gujjaras, the Bakarwals.  
  • The northern slope of the Himalayas: Dry Xerophytic vegetation.

(B) Southern mountain forests:

Types of forest found in India
Shola forests 
                                            Pic source
Southern mountain forests are also known as “Peninsular mountain forests”.
  1. Distribution: Western Ghats, Vindhyans, and Nilgiri. Height: 1500 m above sea level.
  2. Vegetation:
High region: Temperate vegetation
Low Region: Subtropical vegetation
  • Wet evergreen, Semi-Evergreen, and Moist deciduous forest up to 1500 m height in Nilgiri and Pani hills in the south, higher slopes of Western Ghats, summits of Satpura and Maikal ranges.
  • The wet temperate forest is found above 1500 m height on the south Indian hills of Nilgiri, Anamalai, and Palni. 
  • These forests are locally known as “Shola”.
  • Shola forests are dense and have many plant species such as magnolia, laurel, cinchona, and wattle.

5. Littoral and Swamp forests:  

The wetlands of the country are categorized into eight categories:
  • The reservoirs of the Deccan Plateau in the south together with the lagoons and other wetlands of the South West Coast;
  • The vast saline expanses of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and the Gulf of Kachchh;
  • Freshwater lakes and reservoirs from Gujarat eastwards through Rajasthan Keoladeo National Park and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The delta wetlands and lagoons of India’s east coast (Chilka Lake);
  • The floodplains of the Brahmaputra;
  •  the marshes and swamps in the hills of northeast India and the Himalayan foothill;
  • The lakes and rivers of the montane region of Kashmir and Ladakh; and
  • The mangrove forest and other wetlands of the island arcs of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Mangroves and Tidal forests:
Types of forest found in India
Mangroves and Tidal forests
  •  Mangroves and Tidal forests grow along the coasts in the salt marshes, tidal creeks, mudflats, and estuaries.
  • These consist of a number of salt-tolerant species of plants.
  • The mangrove forest in India consists of 7% of the world's mangrove forests and 0.06 % of India’s overall forests.
  • These are mainly found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sundarbans of West Bengal as well as in Mahanadi, Godavari, and Krishna deltas.

Distribution of forest in percentage: 

  • Tropical Dry Deciduous forest: 40.86%
  • Tropical Moist Deciduous forest: 17.65%
  • Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forest: 09.27%
  • Plantation: 08.45%

Facts about Forest cover in India:

Types of forest found in India

  • Forests cover 24.56% geographical area of India.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in India and followed by Arunachal Pradesh.
Forests are very important in our life. The different types of forests found in India provide the wood for commercial activity, helps to decrease pollution to improve the environment. 


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